Mumbai: During the recent Bangalore Test against New Zealand, Sourav Ganguly, credited the batsmen for the record 11 wins away from home during his tenure as India skipper.
He also hailed the good starts which helped a great deal in winning games. In recent years, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have provided firepower at the top. The Delhi duo played a huge role in India's rise to the pinnacle of Test cricket in 2009. However, Sehwag and Gambhir, who have together scored 4048 runs in 81 innings to emerge as India's top most opening pair and fifth in the world, are struggling to get going for some time now.
Seventy seven in the second innings of the last Test was the first half-century stand between them in 12 innings. It has been 20 innings since the pair last put up a century-stand (137 against South Africa in the second innings at Centurion in 2010). Only five times have they managed to put on more than 50 after that match.
One of the crucial factors in the 2011-12 England and Australia disasters was the failure of Sehwag and Gambhir where their highest aggregate was 26 (in the first innings of the last Test at Adelaide Oval). The openers' personal form has also taken a beating in the last couple of years.
Sehwag hasn't scored a hundred since his 173 against NZ at Ahmedabad in 2010, while Gambhir last touched the three-figure mark in January of the same year against minnows Bangladesh. A lot will depend on Sehwag and Gambhir's form if they aim to dish out an equally dominating performance against England (October) and Australia (December) at home.
Viru-Gauti stands in Last 20 innings
>> 19 & 27 vs SA, Newlands, 2011
>> 8 & 3 vs England, Edgbaston, 2011
>> 89 & 51 vs WI at Kotla, 2011
>> 66 vs WI at Eden, 2011
>> 67 & 19 vs WI at Wankhede Stadium, 2011
>> 22 & 17 vs Aus, MCG, 2011
>> 0 & 18 vs Australia, SCG, 2012
>> 4 & 24 vs Australia, Perth, 2012
>> 26 & 14 vs Australia, Adelaide, 2012
>> 49 vs NZ, Hyderabad, 2012
>> 5 & 77 vs NZ, Bangalore, 2012